Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Love Me Tender

Couloumbis, Audrey. 2008. Love Me Tender.

"Early Friday afternoon, Daddy left mad.
He carried his guitar. The weather had turned so hot, the sweaty circles on his T-shirt looked like the wings of an insect against his back.
I followed him, dragging his duffel and panting, "Daddy, this thing is too heavy. What all are you carrying in here?"
What, besides his blue suede shoes and tight white jeans, did he need?"

The narrator of Love Me Tender is thirteen-year-old Elvira. The oldest of what will soon be three children. She's got an eight year old sister, Kerrie, and another sibling on the way. Her mom, whom she calls Mel because that's what her Daddy calls her, is seven months pregnant and very, very cranky. Elvira is worried that it's only going to get worse from here on out--first the hormones of pregnancy, later the diapers and crying and babysitting.

The family is in the beginning stages of crisis. Her dad is unhappy with his job, her mom is unhappy and moody with this unplanned pregnancy, and her younger sister has reverted to acting like a three year old. When we first meet the family, it doesn't look good. The parents have just had a big fight. Her dad is on his way to Vegas. On his way to compete in an Elvis impersonator competition. Her mom is glued to the recliner and hooked to cheesy TV movies. And her sister is driving her crazy.

And then the phone call comes.

It's a strange call. Almost cryptic. Mel's sister, Clare, says simply that their mother's time has come. Thinking that she only has hours--maybe a day or two--to make amends with her estranged family, Mel quickly packs up her two kids, borrows her husband's most prized possession--a classic car in great condition--and heads to Memphis, Tennessee. Taking turns behind the wheel, Mel and Elvira make it to her grandmother's house--just barely with all their nerves and spirits intact. (After a bit of a scare with Kerrie and some "toy" eyelashes.)

This will be the children's first time to meet their grandmother, and to meet their mother's younger sister, Clare. That family--much like Elvira's--seems to be in crisis as well. Clare is convinced that her mother--their mother--needs to be put in a nursing home.

During this weekend, lives will changes, fences will be mended, there will be laughter and tears as well.

Family drama galore (mainly through intense conversations/confrontations) is what you'll find in Love Me Tender.

Honestly, I thought this one was a bit disappointing. When I see the name Coulombis, I expect better things, greater things. Not that this one was bad, it just wasn't as magical as I expected. The premise, the author, the cover, I expected to be wowed a bit more than I was. I kept reading thinking that there was a big reveal on the way, something huge that would shake this family up, something that would act as a catalyst for this family. But nothing really happened.

Other reviews: Flamingnet, Not Acting My Age,

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Amanda 2:26 AM  

I completely agree with your thoughts on this one. Not quite as stellar as I expected. Great writing, but somewhat disappointing in plot.

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